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‘Solar Park producing 12pc more power than target’

Updated November 05, 2015

LAHORE: The Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park, Bahawalpur, the first ever DC installation in Pakistan, is currently producing up to 12pc more power than the energy production requirements set by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra).

The first phase of the plant was completed in March last when it started producing 100 megawatt.

“The plant is giving an average yield of 169 gigawatt hour against the annual target of 153GW hour to meet 153 million units production requirement,” says Najam Ahmed Shah, the chief executive officer of the Quaid-i-Azam Solar Power (pvt) Limited.

More plants to work by year-end

Speaking to Lahore-based reporters at the site for the QASP on Tuesday, Shah said extra profits coming from the first phase of 100MW plant would be shared with the distribution companies and people under Nepra rules.

Responding to a question about controversies over the project, he said 1,000MW solar park only required capital expenditure in the form of financial loans as its production didn’t require any fuel while its maintenance cost was negligible. “The solar energy can be the cheapest mode of power in Pakistan if commercial loans are available on easy terms.”

Shah told a questioner that the solar panels spread across 500 acre produced maximum energy when sun rays were maximum and produced less power in high temperatures. He said the comparison of solar radiation and temperature in Pakistan with Germany suggested that panels in Pakistan would produce 33pc more power than Germany.

Dr Rana Abdul Jabbar Khan, focal person for QASP, told reporters that in first phase 100MW power had already been connected with the power distribution system while 300MW power plants were at final stage and expected to produce solar power by the end of December.

He said the remaining 600MW power plants would be set up in third phase starting in January 2016.

Dr Khan said the QASP would be able to get claim for carbon credit as the Clean Development Mechanism Additionality (CDMA) had also conducted analysis through on-site survey for our claim. He said the carbon claim was only linked with solar power generation as 70pc thermal generation in Pakistan was emitting high levels of carbon dioxide in atmosphere.

About solar power tariff controversy, Dr Khan said the present tariff was 14.15 cents which was expected to drop to single digit next year keeping in view the increasing trend of solar installations and production globally.

Earlier, briefing the journalists on capacity factor and energy production comparison, the CEO said the average efficiency of 100MW plant over the years was 80pc with average 20pc plant losses. He said the DC plant would suffer 20pc losses because of conversion into AC.

The monthly revenue (including tax) reached its peak of over Rs320 million in September from Rs3.548 million in March this year; 67.8 million units were exported against feasibility target of 64.9 million units and 62.2 million units Nepra target during cumulative energy production comparison for invoiced months. He said the cost of 100 MW solar plant is $131.15 million.

Comparing few countries for installed solar power and potential for solar in various countries, Shah said irradiation for 100 MW installed plant in Pakistan was 1,920 KWh/m compared to India’s 1,900 against 4GW installed capacity, China 1,700 (28GW), and Germany 1,100 (38GW).

The solar energy fits very well into Pakistan’s energy situation (fuel imports, land curve) while the country is a good location for solar energy (e.g better than Germany, Spain or China).

The visit to the site showed that the 100 MW solar power plant was injecting power into national grid through a centralised monitoring system while Chinese company Zonergy was currently raising PV plant and substations at three 100 MW plants each. A 220 KV grid station is being installed for producing and transmitting 600 MW next year.

The QASP is being guarded by 700 security officials of the Special Protection Unit headed by an SP rank officer. The SPU is giving outer and internal cover to 675 Chinese workers and few other foreigners.

Published in Dawn, November 5th, 2015

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